Monday, July 25, 2011

Recapture Your Story

After finishing the first draft of a novel, you probably feel one of two things. Either you’re excited to get on to the editing process, or you’re already tired of the story and may be wondering why you ever bothered to begin it in the first place. If the first is true, then these tips should only fuel your fire for beginning your editing stage. If the second, hopefully you might gain insight on ways to recapture your story.

Recapturing your story is, in short, reliving the excitement you felt while in the first draft process. It’s getting back to why you started the novel. Then when it’s time to dive in again, it’s with anticipation. Rather than actual craft tips, these suggestions are more motivational; things that will excite you and add the icing on the cake to your novel.

Five Tips To Recapture Your Story

1) Listen To Music:
I’m one of those authors who can’t concentrate without headphones on. They help to block out minor distractions and increase inspiration. I commonly listen to movie soundtracks or classical music that fit’s the tone of each scene. This often gives my scenes the cinematic edge they need. When I rewrite and edit, I also listen to the same music. That way if a particular piece of music infused depth into my story, it might do the same again.

2) Revisit Your Character Photographs:
I also enjoy searching for various actors and actresses that fit the image of what I think my character might look like. By the middle of the story however, I rarely look at my tackboard where my characters pictures are. After draft one, I find it helpful to look again at those pictures and, if needed, gather some new ones. This technique gives me a visual aid as I prepare to edit and make changes to my character’s personalities.

3) Make Another Character Profile Sheet:
My characters can be some of the most changeable people I know. They usually turn out to be quite different than they were in the beginning. So before draft two, I find it helpful to make new character sheets. At this time, I add in the insight I have learned about my characters.

4) Do Research:
When I’m writing a first draft I occasionally find it difficult to get all the details I would like to add, on paper. In fact, most of the historical tidbits get added into later drafts. So after draft one, I do a bit more research getting details correct. This also boosts my excitement over the era I’m writing in.

5) Watch Movies:
One of the perks of writing is that while you are comfortably ensconced on the couch watching “Pride and Prejudice”, or whatever movie inspires you, you are still able to say your working. Watching movies can be considered research. For every novel I write, I have several films that help inspire the particular novel. They may be set in the same era, or have elements that my story has. I make an effort when writing my novels to not duplicate films or write scene by scene movie screenplays, but during the second draft I’ll re-watch some movies, thus exciting and inspiring me.

These are only a few of the ways to recapture your novel. They are some of my favorites and the ones that have worked for me time and again. Using these tips helps me to keep the momentum going during the editing stages and heading towards the completion of my work.
Your Turn? How do you recapture your story after the first draft? Any tips?

Happy Writing…

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